Thursday, September 26, 2013


Gibson is a bay Hanoverian gelding who was imported from Germany several years ago. His registered name is Grimaldi and he was sired by Grannus. Gibson had already made his mark on the jumper ring when he was imported from Germany. When he initially was imported he continued his career as a jumper, showing in everything from Children's Jumpers and Adult Amateur Jumpers all the way through the Grand Prix ring. That alone makes him quite a horse. 

Gibson with both of his moms on the day they bought him

Gibson eventually made his way from the jumper ring to the hunter ring, and he was showing on the A circuit as a hunter when he joined his forever family. Eight years ago his family was looking for a very special horse that could handle doing double duty with two very different riders. This special horse was going to serve as the first horse for the 9 year old daughter in the family.  This horse was also going to be ridden and shown by the mom who had taken an 18 year break from riding but wanted to start riding again with her daughter.

Gibson had the special honor of being the first horse for one of his moms

As part of their horse search a local trainer brought Gibson to his barn along with two other horses for the family to try. Their daughter fell in love with Gibson as soon as she saw him, and she rode Gibson first. Gibson was cantering around in an outdoor arena carrying his petite nine year old rider when he was given the perfect opportunity to show his spooky side. As he cantered around this arena that he had never been in before, a train came charging past the arena on the tracks that were about 20 yards away. As the train flew by the horns were blaring constantly. It was so loud and appeared so suddenly all of the people were startled. However Gibson didn't do a thing, and just kept cantering around. They knew at that moment that Gibson was, without question, the horse for them and they did not even try the other two horses. Three days later Gibson became a permanent family member.

 Gibson and his young charge in the show ring

His mom said that riding and showing with Gibson was always a special treat. He always made the right decisions with his young rider, even when she was trying to ask for the wrong one. With mom he made her feel not only safe but also very competitive. When Gibson stepped into the show ring he immediately gave his full attention to his rider and the job at hand. His ears were always forward and he was always looking for the next jump.

Gibson and mom in the show ring

His mom told me that one of her favorite memories with Gibson came at one of their last shows of a very successful season. They had qualified to compete at the Washington International Horse Show in Washington, DC.  His mom was enjoying the beautiful weather at an outdoor cafe near the horse show. She watched as a horse trailer pulled up and a stunning bay horse was unloaded - Gibson. She said she never saw him look more beautiful and alert than at that moment as he walked off the trailer in the middle of downtown DC and took in the sights.

Gibson and his friend Lofty waiting for breakfast one morning

Gibson and a friend enjoying a perfect day of retirement

One day Gibson was enjoying some turnout time on a perfect spring day. He somehow hurt himself while he was out and injured his lower sesamoid ligament on one of his front legs, which was the same area where he had a previous injury as a younger horse. His family diligently treated his injury with shockwave therapy and lots of rest over a two year period. Although he had moments of soundness he was never able to stay completely comfortable on that leg while in work. His family decided it was time to stop asking Gibson to come back to work, he had earned his retirement.

Romeo and Gibson 

Lofty and Gibson going for a run

Gibson made the journey to Paradigm Farms from the Chicago area in April. We knew Gibson was going to enjoy life at our farm right away. One of the first horses he went out with was Donovan. Donovan wasn't sure if he wanted to be close friends with Gibson right away. Gibson on the other hand had decided that they were going to be BFFs immediately. Donovan kept trying to go to the other side of the paddock to graze and Gibson would canter circles around him until Donovan stopped moving and consented to graze next to him. After a few minutes of this Gibson had Donovan convinced that they could be instant best friends.

Gibson in the lead going for a run through the pasture

Lotus, Flyer and Gibson

Gibson decided he was immediate best friends with any horse we put in a paddock with him. On the days when Gibson had a new friend in the paddock he never looked around for his former BFF, instead he just decided the new horse was now his BFF. When it came time for Gibson to join a group he just . . . joined the group. He basically went in the pasture and high-fived everyone and that was it. He had one of the easiest transitions into a group we have ever seen.  Other horses like Gibson as easily as he likes them. If he was a teenager he would be voted as Most Popular by his senior class.

Donneur, Lofty and Gibson

Donneur and Gibson

Gibson has been a wonderful addition to our family, and we hope you have enjoyed getting to know him!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Little Chipper

I had a little friend following me around in the front barn today. I kept seeing something out of the corner of my eye as I carried out my various tasks, and finally I turned around and realized I had a baby chipmunk following me around. He followed me from stall to stall as I cleaned them. He followed me up and down the barn aisle as I swept. He followed me into the office.  My little shadow even followed me out to one of the pastures. 

Chipper and I were just walking back into the barn when Jason came walking up. I told him I had a baby chipmunk following me around, and pointed at my buddy. I explained this to Jason with a lot of enthusiasm, trying to convey to Jason that was a unique and special event. Jason, with hardly a glance at little Chipper, said "they do that sometimes" in a very unimpressed voice. So I tried again, "but he's following me around everywhere." In a rather bored voice Jason said "that's nice" as he walked off in search of something entirely unrelated to me and little Chipper.  

I was getting really annoyed at this point and I said to Jason "why do you have to be so heartless?"  He got really offended by this question and let me know that he, in fact, was not heartless. He then walked toward little Chipper and that was the end of that. Little Chipper did not like Jason walking towards him and he took off.  I never saw him again. I hope he found his mom. Sniffle. 

my little buddy


Donneur and Lofty having an early morning grooming session

Dutch and Renny waiting for breakfast

Hemi, Levendi, Leo and Tony with Thomas hiding behind the tree

Sebastian and Johnny

Rocky and Bergie

Gus and Asterik grooming


Dutch having a good roll with the requisite shake afterwards

Thor and Lucky

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Stills

Sparky and Griselle

Fabrizzio and Walden

Lotus and Gibson

Stormy and Bergie

Sebastian and Africa

Alex and B-Rad

Apollo and Moe

Hemi, Tony and Moe

Silky telling me to skip the picture and move on to feeding her

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Horse is Where?

When I showed Jason this news article about a horse that managed to get on the barn roof he said, with absolute seriousness, "if I walked outside one morning and saw one of the horses on a roof I would crap my pants." I think that is probably a pretty good summary of what I would do as well, although I would like to think that in the midst of my shock and horror I would remember to take a picture.  

I'm not going to name any names, but we have a few residents that would absolutely climb up on a roof if the opportunity presented itself. They would think it was the coolest thing ever. Some of the other horses would never be convinced in a million years to climb on a roof.  I just hope I never have the opportunity to walk outside one morning and go "what the . . . ???? Is that one of the horses on the barn roof??"  Yep, I think I would like to pass on that experience.

Click here to go to the original article.

A New Brunswick couple was baffled after a family member sent them a photo of their horse perched on the roof of a garage.  Stephen Downey and his wife Pat raise racing horses in Hampton N.B. But despite their experience with the four-legged beasts, they say they were baffled after seeing a photo, taken by Stephen's brother Archie, of a young colt on the garage roof.

"It looked like Archie had done a joke on Stephen and Photoshopped the horse on the roof because that just doesn't happen" Pat Downey told CTV Atlantic. "You would never get a horse to do something like that."

After snapping the photo, Archie – who lives on the farm with the horse -- coaxed the uninjured horse down.
The horse was able to climb a small knoll at the back of the garage to get up onto the roof.  Stephen Downey says the colt was alone on the farm at the time because several of his horses had been sent to Saint John for training.

"I think he was just bored," Downey said. "He's like a two or three-year-old kid and he was just looking for some excitement and he got into trouble like a regular kid would do."

Downey says he sent the photo to several people who also thought the photo was a fake.  "They think it's not real," he said. "They think you've Photoshopped it, but it's real and it really happened."

There was a hole in the roof where were the colt had put a hoof through. Pat Downey says it would have been a drop of more than 3.5 metres if the colt had plunged through.  "I don't think he would have recovered from it because we couldn't have gotten him out," she said.

The family has since put up a fence to block any horses from up getting up on the roof again.  "In the 15 years we've had horses, I can honestly saying nothing like this has ever happened," Pat Downey said.


There is a lot going on in this picture. In the front we have Donovan and Oskar both grooming Kennedy, while Kennedy grooms Oskar. In the background Bergie and Stormy are having a grooming session. The afternoon activities apparently called for one giant grooming session.

Lotus, Romeo, Faune, Flyer

Hemi and Apollo

MyLight, Calimba and Cinnamon

Merlin and Noble

Africa, Johnny and Lighty making their way in for breakfast, single file

Asterik, Gus, George and Silver

Norman and Traveller

Tony and Baby

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Together Again

Lily and I were together for the better part of the day again as she had another extended spa day. Everyone knows Lily because of the epic body clip she requires in the spring. Often I go through two sets of blades getting the hair off Lily in the spring.  Today Lily was clipped again. She started growing hair like crazy in midsummer, it seemed as if we could literally stand there and watch her hair grow. We had her Cushings ACTH test redone and as it turned out her Prascend dose needed to be increased again. It also meant that The Lil had to endure her second body clipping session of 2013. Oh, the unfairness of it all!

Lily is a smart horse and she has learned to appreciate being clipped. What she has never learned to appreciate is the bath that must precede the clipping. I always end up looking as wet as Lily after giving her a bath, and I'm pretty sure that is her goal. It always feels like I'm on the downhill slide once we get through the bath even though the actual clipping takes about ten times longer than the bath. 

Lily patiently waiting to get started

a picture to show just how much hair she had already accumulated (no her hair wasn't brown, it is just the light in the picture)

Since our daytime temperatures are still in the mid 80's Lily should feel much more comfortable now. I'm also hoping this will help her avoid a massively overgrown winter coat that winds up getting all matted.  The goal is for Lily to have a "normal" winter coat instead, which would be about what I removed from her today. I jokingly call Lily the keratin factory because she grows hair and hooves like none other. As always Lily was glad to be rid of me after our extended session together. When she went back out she went tearing across the pasture to rejoin her friends at a pace that I am sure could win the Kentucky Derby. Undoubtedly she proceeded to tell her friends how awful her day had been starting off with "and the first thing she did was give me a bath!" Doesn't she know by now that I hate baths?!" In Lily's world I must qualify as a very slow learner...


Walden, Fabrizzio and O'Reilly

Sebastian, Alex, Darby and Lighty

Thomas and Leo

Levendi, Homer and Hemi

Lily and Maisie grooming

Stormy and Bergie grooming

Wiz and Alex

Norman and Traveller